The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)From heaven.—Psalms 18, “in the heavens,” a difference found in the original; the two are otherwise alike in the Hebrew, except that the psalm adds the words, “hail stones and coals of fire.”Psalm 18, and with the words of this first verse for its title, belongs to the early part of David's reign when he was recently established upon the throne of all Israel, and when his final triumph over the house of Saul, and over the pagan nations 2 Samuel 22:44-46, Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, Ammonites, and Edomites, was still fresh 2 Samuel 21. For a commentary on the separate verses the reader is referred to the commentary on Psalm 18.
The last words of David - i. e., his last Psalm, his last "words of song" 2 Samuel 22:1. The insertion of this Psalm, which is not in the Book of Psalms, was probably suggested by the insertion of the long Psalm in 2 Samuel 22.
David the son of Jesse said ... - The original word for "said" is used between 200 and 300 times in the phrase, "saith the Lord," designating the word of God in the mouth of the prophet. It is only applied to the words of a man here, and in the strikingly similar passage Numbers 24:3-4, Numbers 24:15-16, and in Proverbs 30:1; and in all these places the words spoken are inspired words. The description of David is divided into four clauses, which correspond to and balance each other.
2Sa 22:1-51. David's Psalm of Thanksgiving for God's Powerful Deliverance and Manifold Blessings.
The song contained in this chapter is the same as the eighteenth Psalm, where the full commentary will be given [see on Ps 18:1, &c.]. It may be sufficient simply to remark that Jewish writers have noticed a great number of very minute variations in the language of the song as recorded here, from that embodied in the Book of Psalms—which may be accounted for by the fact that this, the first copy of the poem, was carefully revised and altered by David afterwards, when it was set to the music of the tabernacle. This inspired ode was manifestly the effusion of a mind glowing with the highest fervor of piety and gratitude, and it is full of the noblest imagery that is to be found within the range even of sacred poetry. It is David's grand tribute of thanksgiving for deliverance from his numerous and powerful enemies, and establishing him in the power and glory of the kingdom.Psalm 18:13. The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. the most High] The name of God as the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Cp. Genesis 14:18-22; Deuteronomy 32:8.
uttered his voice] Thunder is the voice of God. See Job 37:2-5. The repetition of “hailstones and coals of fire” in Psalm 18:13 is probably due to an error of transcription.Verses 14-16. -
"Jehovah thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered his voice.
And he sent forth arrows, and scattered them [the evil doers];
Lightning, and terrified them.
And the sea beds became visible,
The foundations of the world were laid bare,
At the rebuke of Jehovah,
By the breath of the wind of his nostril." Terrified. The verb signifies" to strike with sodden terror and alarm" (see Exodus 14:24; Joshua 10:10). It describes here the panic caused by the lightning, and by the violent throes of nature, so powerfully described in ver. 16. Laid bare. This is the meaning of the word "discovered" in the Authorized Version. When the version was made, it was equivalent to "uncovered," but has now changed its signification.
The foundations of the heavens shook
And swayed to and fro, because He was wroth.
9 Smoke ascended in His nose,
And fire out of His mouth devoured,
Red-hot coals burned out of Him.
10 And He bowed the heavens and came down,
And cloudy darkness under His feet.
Jehovah came down from heaven to save His servant, as He had formerly come down upon Sinai to conclude His covenant with Israel in the midst of terrible natural phenomena, which proclaimed the wrath of the Almighty. The theophany under which David depicts the deliverance he had experienced, had its type in the miraculous phenomenon which accompanied the descent of God upon Sinai, and which suggested, as in the song of Deborah (Judges 5:4-5), the idea of a terrible storm. It is true that the deliverance of David was not actually attended by any such extraordinary natural phenomena; but the saving hand of God from heaven was so obviously manifested, that the deliverance experienced by him could be poetically described as a miraculous interposition on the part of God. When the Lord rises up from His heavenly temple to come down upon the earth to judgment, the whole world trembles at the fierceness of His wrath. Not only does the earth tremble, but the foundations of the heavens shake: the whole universe is moved. In the psalm we have "the foundations of the hills" instead of "the foundations of the heavens," - a weaker expression, signifying the earth to its deepest foundations. The Hithpael יתגּעשׁ, lit., to sway itself, expresses the idea of continuous swaying to and fro. לו חרה כּי, "for it (sc., wrath) burned to him," it flamed up like a fire; cf. Deuteronomy 32:22; Deuteronomy 29:19. "Smoke," the forerunner of fire, "ascended in His nose." The figurative idea is that of snorting or violent breathing, which indicates the rising of wrath. Smoke is followed by fire, which devours out of the mouth, i.e., bursts forth devouring or consuming all that opposes it. The expression is strengthened still further by the parallel: "red-hot coals come out of Him," i.e., the flame of red-hot coals pours out of Him as out of a glowing furnace (cf. Genesis 15:17). This description is based entirely upon Exodus 19:18, where the Lord comes down upon Sinai in smoke and fire. We are not to picture to ourselves flashes of lightning; for all these phenomena are merely the forerunners of the appearance of God in the clouds, which is described in 2 Samuel 22:10, "He bowed the heavens" to come down. ערפל, which is frequently connected with ענן, signifies cloudy darkness, or dark clouds. The substratum of this description is the fact that in a severe storm the heavens seem to sink down upon the earth with their dark clouds. The Lord draws near riding upon black thunder-clouds, "that the wicked may not behold His serene countenance, but only the terrible signs of His fierce wrath and punishment" (J. H. Michaelis).
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